Spoiler alert: I love taking pictures, and thanks to Instagram, Snapchat, Marco Polo and whatever latest app comes out next week, my girls love taking photos of themselves (although TD2’s behavior said otherwise). So when I found out a friend of mine was launching her photography business, I reached out to her to get T4’s family portraits taken.
Have you noticed those new header photos at the top of my blog? Yup, that was all her. She did an amazing job with the cold weather and an uncooperative 4.5-year-old who was in her feelings about some Cheez-Its she couldn’t have. All things considered, we had a great time and have some beautiful memories to look back on. Check out some more of her work on Truly Loved Photography.
She’s currently offering a promotional deal through the end of the year for mini photo sessions. For $50, you get a 30 minute photo shoot and printing rights for 20 images. Buy 2 to get a full hour session and 40 images. The certificates expire 12/31/2018, so you can even use them for next year’s holiday cards!
As I write this, I am currently enjoying watching the TDs veg out with toys, books, puzzles and Netflix. Despite currently fighting allergy/sinus issues, I am thoroughly enjoying being home with them on their winter break. It’s been mostly relaxing, entertaining and full throttle (because apparently kids go on break, but they don’t break….go figure!)
But I have to be honest, I was a bit of a scrooge leading up to the holidays. I dreaded Christmas and wanted to just skip it. I may have even complained about it to a few dozen people. There was very little Christmas music (which I’m sure pleased T-Daddy). I didn’t change my ringtone this year (though I really need to change it, period). We were kinda late decorating the tree and getting Princess (formerly known as Strawberry better known as Elf on the Shelf) here from the North Pole.
Then it was time for the girls’ holiday program. Almost everyone in the family came, which made the girls really happy. And that made me happy. It worked out that both their uncle and their grandparents were in town that day and we were able to arrange for them to be there. Then their uncle spent many days of his trip here with them. TD1 was so excited to be the one to show him how to make root beer floats and give him his first one (not really, but somehow she came to that conclusion).
As a family, we ate all kinds of “bad” food and laughed and joked. We watched movies and played games. We put together puzzles and played with their new toys. We attended church for the first time on both Christmas Eve and Christmas. And we got to see both sides of the family on Christmas day without tons of driving, family politics, tension and stress. Everything, everyone has just been easy peasy this holiday season.
It’s been as if the universe knew exactly what I needed to lift my spirits. It’s been so nice to relax and enjoy my girls in their elements. To not have to yell at them to hurry up because we’re behind schedule. To just take a break. Soon, we’ll be back to the grind of things, but for now, I’m enjoying being home with them on their break. After all, it’s the first time since TD1 was a baby.
For whatever reason, I really wasn’t into Christmas this year, and events leading up to and surrounding Christmas really didn’t help my mood. At one point, I decided to sit Christmas out. But thinking about the money we had already spent and certain people that were depending on us, I changed my mind.
I’m glad I did. For me, the whole holiday was still kind of just eh, but my girls enjoyed it. And we were able to bring smiles to some faces. And, that outweighs my grumpiness.
I’m sure next year I’ll be in a better mood. I’m already deciding that I’m not going to let anything bring me down. I am going to celebrate with enthusiasm with my family.
Christmas Eve is almost over and I just keep thinking that it should feel different. My holidays as an adult are completely different from my holidays as a child. Things were easier, more delightful back then. I wish I could revive those moments.
I really wish Vera was still alive. The more I live, the more I recognize the difference she made. And, the more I realize that not only was 17 years not enough with her, but I was also too young to appreciate and make the kinda memories I would love to have to reflect on right now.
I am, however, thankful that I never had to see her in an unfortunate light – in my memories, she was the perfect grandmother. And, I wouldn’t change that for the universe. I hope my children get the same opportunity with their grandparents.
In a world that is increasingly evil, hurtful and dangerous, it doesn’t hurt to have someone that you see as purely good. As a parent, I have to administer tough love and while I’d love to be their blissful happily ever after, I know more than likely it will be the grandparents that win that title. And I’m ok with that. I believe grandparents are God’s gift to children and I truly cherish the bond my children have with their grandparents.
This holiday season just hasn’t felt very “holiday-y” at the Sparkman household. I’m not really sure why, but we were last minute with everything, including buying and decorating a tree.
Todd and Tempess went on a last-minute daddy and daughter tree shopping trip. When they got back, she helped him decorate the tree with her ornaments. She was so proud of herself and made sure Mommy, Daddy and Baby all knew “I did that!!”
Now she keeps running to the tree, taking ornaments off so she can put them back on.
And here I was thinking we were a bunch of Scrooges.
Our Christmas pictures have finally been uploaded and shared. Temi of course celebrated at about a gazillion houses and she had a blast. You can view the pictures on our Shutterfly share site or by viewing the slideshow below.
This past Thanksgiving, we did things a little differently and I have to admit that I am very pleased with the way it all turned out. Todd’s siblings all came together with their respective others and in-laws in one central location and we all celebrated together. It was a nice blend of extended family and it gave my mom and sibs the opportunity to get to know the people that have so openly embraced me and welcomed me into their own family.
It very well could be T-Time talking (I swear I’m just a big walking ball of tears these days), but it was beyond words what I felt looking around the room at everyone. They say that we choose our friends but not our family, and while I did choose to be with Todd, many of the “family” that came along with him, I did not choose. I didn’t even know them at the time. But I’m glad they’re here. And if I could’ve chosen I don’t know that I could’ve chosen anyone like them. Especially Erica and Keisha. I always wanted a big sister growing up, and now I have two. Those two are sisters and friends rolled up in one and what they mean to me now, I never could’ve seen it coming.
I was also thankful that my mom, bro and sis came. It made my night to see them interacting with Todd’s family. It doesn’t happen as much as I’d like, but I’ve always enjoyed watching Todd around my sibs. He gets along with all of them so easily, something that is very important to me because I love them so much and they were all my babies before I had my own. I was thankful for the chance to share an important part of my life with my mom. She has such a good heart and good intentions, even when it doesn’t come off that way or work out the way she’s planned. And I was glad that she was able to witness the outpouring of love towards me and Temi from people other than herself. I know as a mother how good it feels to see others love your child. And love is what my blended family does. Each in their own way.
Of course Temi had a blast. Food. Cousins. Aunts and Uncles. Grandparents. Food. Did I mention food?
This Thanksgiving I had a lot to be thankful for and it was evident as I looked into the faces of those that I love. Enjoy the pix. 🙂